Get all the facts, a few recipes, and a new idea for a healthy snack that utlilize spring's glorious peas.
Text: Julianna Grimes
April 18, 2011
1 of 5Photo: John Autry
The Best of Spring: Sweet Peas & Pea Shoots
Green peas are one of spring's finest fleeting pleasures, remarkably sweet and so crisp they snap when you bite. They lend an unmistakable starchy, grassy sweetness to any dish—a far cry from the frozen, shriveled pellets we turn to for winter stews. You may have tried the stunning delicate green shoots (likely cut from immature snow peas) in Chinese restaurants.
With a faint pea flavor, pea shoots are lovely additions to salads, stir-fries, pizzas, and soups. Look for them at farm stands or Asian markets, and get them while you can—the flavor turns bitter at the end of the growing season.
2 of 5Photo: John Autry
Fresh Pea and Garlic Gazpacho
This vibrant green gazpacho will make a lovely presentation for any meal outdoors. We love the flavor that results from the combination of English peas and fresh mint.
Did you know that pea tendrils, the tiny wispy, curling stems, support the shoots as they climb? This recipe utlizes those climbing tendrils in a delicious way.
4 of 5Photo: John Autry
Executive food editor, Ann Taylor Pittman, gives Snapea Crisps rave reviews. "These addictive baked pea crisps are a healthy snack I feel good about giving my children."
5 of 5Photo: John Autry
Drizzle, Dress, and Dip
Pea oil, a healthy alternative to saturated fat-laden butter, tastes sweet and green like spring. Drizzle it over sautéed, roasted, or grilled veggies. Use it to dress salads, or sprinkle coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper over the top and dunk a hunk of bread in it. If you make a batch of oil and strain it, you can keep it chilled for up to a week. Simply combine 3 cups pea shoots and 2 cups canola oil in a food processor; process until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve.